Water shortage: KWSB to tap into 120-year-old Dumlottee wells

They were the first line of supply to Karachi.

Our Correspondent August 10, 2012

KARACHI: More than 120 years after they were first used, groundwater wells will again be dug at Dumlottee to quench the thirst of a growing population in Karachi.

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has conducted a study to revive the wells, which were designed by British engineers Temple and Currie in 1882 as the first source of water supply for the port city.

“We have been meaning to do this for a long time,” said MD Misbahuddin Farid. “There are natural aquifers that could be used to meet some of our demand.”

Karachi’s total water demand has surged to over 1,100 million gallons per day. The city receives just 435 MGD. It is expected that wells could supply at least 15 MGD.

The Dumlottee wells are located 25 kilometers from Karachi and depend on the Malir River to be filled. “Temple and Currie had built a 35-kilometer-long conduit to bring water from the river to the wells. It was truly an engineering marvel then,” said Farid. Over the years, construction companies have removed a large quantity of sand and gravel from the area. “That has changed the landscape and dried up the wells,” he said.

Their original depth was 50 feet. “We have the advantage of technology now. KWSB is planning to drill to 400 or 500 feet where an ample quantity of water is available.”
The survey report of the wells said that due to the constant theft of sand and gravel from the Malir and Sukhan Rivers the water level declined in the wells.

“The first and foremost important steps in this regard would be to ensure that the excavation of sand from the Malir River is immediately stopped,” said Faird.

KWSB has forwarded a request to the Sindh home secretary and IG to help.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.

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